Game piracy is still a big deal and maybe even more for indie titles, but Notch of Minecraft fame doesn’t seem to think so.
Speaking to PC Gamer, Notch spoke on whether or not they are still indie developers with Minecraft taking off to sell over 4 million copies since its inception. With the Xbox 360 port launching soon and Anroid/iOS versions already selling well, it’s hard to see how Minecraft can still be an indie game.
“These days it’s become hip to pay for indie games. That’s partly down to people charging for it, like with the Humble Indie Bundle, and partly because of Steam doing awesome stuff,” Notch told PC Gamer last week.
Notch, however, doesn’t think that they are indie anymore in how the company is run since they have to worry about payroll and making sure the company lasts.
He does go on to say that they are indie in the fact that the two founders of the company are still focusing on development instead of the business side. The company as a whole may not be indie anymore, but their development style, making games without “external dependencies”, makes them indie.
He takes note that gamers’ perception of an indie game developer has changed over the years. Indie developers use to be “garage programmers” as he calls them and they just made freeware games. They were not expected to charge for their games.
“I think it’s much easier these days, but there’s still no guarantee you’ll make a profit. If you’re doing it out of passion and just want to get some money back it’s definitely doable,” Notch said.
Minecraft is definitely the exception, not the rule, when it comes to indie releases. It’s definitely moving that way though with, as Notch pointed out, Steam and the Humble Indie Bundle giving indie games exposure on par with their big budget counterparts. Couple that with it becoming easier to make your own games with GameSalad and Gamemaker and you have indie games being a viable side business, if not a legitimate full time business.